Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sun Life and USSC to Offer Affordable Insurance Products and Services to the Mass Market

A huge number of Filipinos still don't fully understand the concept of insurance. According to Sun Life President and CEO Riza Mantaring, when she's abroad and gets to talk to Overseas Filipino Workers, the OFWs often express their worries about their families in case something happen to them. "They understand the need for insurance but they just don't realize it's insurance that they have to buy." 

a need to protect the future
photo credit:
Unfortunately, those living here don't necessarily perceive that need to protect their future. While OFWs clearly see it, those in the marginalized sectors still have to be educated on their need for protection because their mindset is just to survive from day to day, or week to week. "That is why they have to develop the habit of saving. Just as you have the money to buy food, you should also be able to save even just a small amount regularly [for your future]," reasoned Ms. Riza

The thing is, many people are still not aware that such products exist or, if they do, they think these products are very expensive. Ms. Riza explained how hard it is for some people to grasp how, for instance, P25 can already get them P25,000 in benefits in case of an accident. "It's hard for them to believe it's possible because they don't understand the concept of pooling people's money."

This coming 2017, Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc., in partnership with Universal Storefront Services Corporation (USSC), will be introducing the mass market to life insurance products and services. Under this program, Sun Life will expand the reach of financial inclusion to the largely underserved market segment of the Philippine population.   

contract signing between Sun Life and USSC
For those who are not very familiar with USSC, it is one of the country's largest networks of one-stop service shops. With 780 outlets and over 700 key-sub agent locations, the company fulfills the public's need for money transfer, transport ticketing, payment collection, cellphone top-ups and non-life insurance offerings. In 2017, they will also be able to offer life insurance products and services 'powered by Sun Life.'

USSC President and CEO Jose Xavier Gonzales expressed enthusiasm in the team up. "With Sun Life, we are confident that we can fulfill our commitment to serve and help in addressing the needs of our loyal customers by providing them with relevant and affordable services."

Earlier this year, the top-ranked and longest-standing insurance provider in the Philippines launched the RISE PH campaign, a five-year growth plan that aims to deepen the conversation about money and reach out to more people. Sun Life expects the partnership with USSC to help it achieve its goal to serve five million Filipinos by year 2020.

making the partnership official
The new undertaking, according to Ms. Riza, presents a great opportunity to address the life insurance needs of Filipinos, particularly those who are not yet accustomed to buying insurance and other financial products. "With USSC as our newest partner, we look forward to providing every Filipino with client-focused product solutions that can enable him to enjoy a secure, brighter life."

Under the Sun Life - USSC partnership, life insurance would be more affordable and accessible to more Filipinos. Ms. Riza clarified, "We are able to offer the products at smaller amounts because USSC can distribute it for us through their 1500 locations whereas, through our normal channels, we won't be able to afford carrying the costs." This, she said, is what matching the product with the distribution channel is about.

Compared to what Sun Life gets from its regular business, the products to be offered via USSC are 'powered by Sun Life,' assuring clients of the trustworthy company behind them. "The total volume may not be much but it could definitely reach more people." 

a photo op with one of my personal finance inspirations
Ms. Riza pointed out that their thrust in the next five years is to help improve the future of Filipinos. "If we're able to help them become more prosperous then, in the future, they will also be able to invest more when they've become more finance-savvy. And this helps build the country, too! We are hoping that, by participating in the financial inclusion initiatives of the government, we can help bring prosperity down to more Filipinos," she expounded.

"If you cannot progress a country, who will avail of financial products if people have nothing to spend for them?," asked Ms. Riza. "So, if we help build a better future for the Philippines, ultimately, it will be helping everyone, including us."

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